THE KNIGHTS by Aristophanes, Part 16
What profound wisdom! If it be really so, why! all is for the
best. Your ministers, then, are your victims, whom you nourish and
feed up expressly in the Pnyx, so that, the day your dinner is
ready, you may immolate the fattest and eat him.
Look, see how I play with them, while all the time they think
themselves such adepts at cheating me. I have my eye on them when they
thieve, but I do not appear to be seeing them; then I thrust a
judgment down their throat as it were a feather, and force them to
vomit up all they have robbed from me.
(Cleon comes out of the house with a bench and a large basket; at
the same moment the SAUSAGE-SELLER arrives with another basket;
the two are placed beside one another.)
Get out of here!
Get out yourself!
Demos, all is ready these three hours; I await your orders and I
burn with desire to load you with benefits.
And I ten, twelve, a thousand hours, a long, long while, an
infinitely long, long, long while.
As for me, it's thirty thousand hours that I have been
impatient; very, long, infinitely long, long, long that I have
Do you know what you had best do?
I will, if you tell me.
Declare the lists open and we will contend abreast to
determine-who shall treat you the best.
Splended! Draw back in line!
I am ready.
Off you go!
SAUSAGE-SELLER (to CLEON)
I shall not let you get to the tape.
What fervent lovers! If I am not to-day the happiest of men, it
will be because I am the most disgusted.
CLEON (putting down the bench for DEMOS)
Look! I am the first to bring you a seat.
And I a table.
(He places his sausage-tray in front of DEMOS.)
Wait, here is a cake kneaded of Pylos barley.
Here are crusts, which the ivory hand of the goddess has hallowed.
Oh! Mighty Athene! How large are your fingers!
This is pea-soup, as exquisite as it is fine; Pallas the
victorious goddess at Pylos is the one who crushed the peas herself.
Oh, Demos! the goddess watches over you; she is stretching forth
over your head.... a stew-pan full of broth.
And should we still be dwelling in this city without this
Here are some fish, given to you by her who is the terror of our
The daughter of the mightiest of the gods sends you this meat
cooked in its own gravy, along with this dish of tripe and some
That's to thank me for the peplus I offered to her; good.
The goddess with the terrible plume invites you to eat this long
cake; you will row the harder on it.
Take this also.
And what shall I do with this tripe?
She sends it you to belly out your galleys, for she is always
showing her kindly anxiety for our fleet. Now drink this drink
composed of three parts of water to two of wine.
Ah! what delicious wine, and how well it stands the water.
The goddess who came from the head of Zeus mixed this liquor
with her own hands.
Hold, here is a piece of good rich cake.
But I offer you an entire cake.
But you cannot offer him stewed hare as I do.
Ah! great gods! stewed hare! where shall I find it? Oh! brain of
mine, devise some trick!